Media managers are wondering what went wrong. They are asking why journalism doesn't pay any more. If the solutions are hard to discern, they have only to look at the technology they so eagerly embrace. It's the digital technology. It has spread throughout many industries including journalism, like a virus.
At a time when our consumption of the news is at an all-time high, the very institutions at the heart of our news media are in crisis -- and demanding the attention of our political leaders. Postmedia combined newsrooms in Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver in a move that not only saw many talented and dedicated journalists pushed out the door, but also saw distinctive voices quieted.
Adapted for the small screen, The Book of Negroes' Canadian debut occurs one month ahead of the U.S.A. premiere, appositely scheduled for Black History Month. As with any historical film depicting the bowels of inhumanity towards people of colour, it is an uneasy subject matter for the mostly lily-white CBC personalities.
The CBC I'm leaving is a shadow of the CBC I joined. In 1976, I joined an institution which was a place for young Canadians to grow and, eventually, contribute to the country in diverse ways. I'm leaving a place where people struggle to survive professionally and, sad to say in many cases -- psychologically and emotionally. The difference can be explained to a very great extent by funding cutbacks driven largely by political hostility which has resulted in a hemorrhage of brains and talent from the corporation.
We only learned post facto that CBC planned on achieving its objectives for TV by stripping more than a quarter of the funding from its radio services. How? Fortuitously, another law came into effect in 2008 that required CBC and other broadcasters to provide financial data to the CRTC on their major radio and TV operations.
If the CBC has indeed fired an employee for private behaviour in the bedroom then Ghomeshi deserves the entire 50 million dollar settlement and those who made the decision at the CBC should immediately resign. If, on the other hand, there is a legitimate victim of a crime who is driven into hiding because people like a radio host, it will be a great miscarriage of justice by the Canadian public.
I'm all for the CBC brass stepping out of their ivory towers and walking among the people, but I'd also like a sense they have a vision themselves. A vision that can be shaped by public feedback, perhaps -- but a vision nonetheless. Because if you ask a hundred people what they want from the CBC, you'll get a hundred different answers.
CBC and Radio-Canada staff across the country are bracing for deep cuts today, as the public broadcaster aims to respond to an estimated $100-million revenue shortfall in the next year. It's likely that some Canadians may be rejoicing at the news, but I am certainly not one of them. Their raison d'être is not simple distraction, it is to be universally accessible, contribute to a sense of national identity and community, and -- most importantly -- keep a safe distance from vested financial interests. What that means is you can't necessarily assess their worth based on numbers, but rather good programming. You think we can't afford to offer intellectually-nurturing programming in these tough economic times? I think we can't afford not to!